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 Chapter 48: Book of Liars

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Kell
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PostSubject: Chapter 48: Book of Liars   Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:29 am

Jaden




It was so strange, knowing that my best friend, my boyfriend, was a father. A FATHER. At this age! It was inexplicably weird. There's no escaping the feelings of aging & thoughts of the future when a baby comes into one's life. At the same time, there's just as much nostalgia & feelings of growing up & the good memories that make up the fabric of the past. It was in this sense that I hoped Noah & I could begin getting back to. We still had some time left in the juvenile prison system that is school; I wanted to make the most of our last year.

Over a month had passed since the baby's birth. We were well into the winter holiday by now, Christmas just around the corner. Snow conquered the forecasts & frigid airs had stripped every living tree of its summer & late autumn foliage. The silence was beautiful during snowfall, the gnarled branches of the trees reaching up & begging to be wrapped in fluffy white blankets.

I was being spared a few hours from the cold at Dade's during the end of my shift when Noah came in, shivering even with his winter coat, gloves & hat on. I giggled as he shook the snow off him.

"I'd be willing to keep working this shift if you wanna walk back home & relax for the rest of the night," I said with a straight face.

"Yeah, right," he scoffed as we chuckled. "Tom here?"

"Yeah he's in the back," I nodded.

"Cool, I'll let him know I'm here so that you can leave," he gave me a snarky little look.

"Good thing I made myself a cup of hot chocolate to go," I gave a cheeky grin as I geared up for the trek back home. Because of the snow & ice on the ground, my folks didn't want me driving to work. So overprotective, right?

"I hate you."

The place was pretty empty except for this hipster 30-something year old man in the back glued to his Mac. I gave my boyfriend a peck on the cheek before I walked by him to head on out into the cold.

The hot chocolate kept my hands warm from the frigid air as I walked. Lucky for me, the icy winds also helped cool the drink a little bit faster so I didn't have to wait 80 years for it to be drinkable. In general, Noah & I loved living here & we loved the snow. But when it's NOT snowing...ice, wind & freezing air just isn't as fun. Just for one day, ONE day this week, it'd be nice to have the sun's warm rays scorch us like the good ol' days of just four months ago. The snow crunched under my boots as I hiked through the shoveled sidewalks, my shoe prints joining hundreds of other travelers.

About a mile up the street, I noticed that the closest road that connected where I needed to go & where I was was completely inaccessible due to all the snow. I pouted as I began to take a different way, knowing I'd be home about an extra half hour late in the freezing cold.

The unneeded extra exercise wasn't the only reason I wasn't pumped about going in this direction. West lived down this way. When he was friends with us, before apparently becoming such a homophobe all of a sudden after learning Noah & I were an item, Noah & I had no issue with coming the longer way since we'd often meet up at West's house to hang out with him. However, when he ditched us faster than you could even say the word "homosexual," Noah & I, whenever we'd walk into town, began taking the shorter route. I silently prayed I wouldn't run into him if he were outside.

My prayers were left blissfully unanswered.

His road was not very populated at all, even by Winthrop's standards. It was one of the roads that sat right between the center of town & the significantly more rural area of town I had to go through to reach the peninsula I lived on. His house was a one-story yellow home that had a strangely tall chimney on the side of it & that's how most people knew it. My reason for knowing it was standing outside on the front steps, shoveling snow from the stairs. I cursed under my breath as he looked up at one point & made eye contact with me.

"Hey Jaden," he said with a very shitty voice.

"Just headed home from work, West, no need to speak to me or anything. Please," I said flatly.

"Last time you were down this way, you were here at my house with Noah," he said as I slowed down in front of his house. A part of me wanted to just let him fuck off & keep walking home, but a bigger part of me demanded confrontation. I knew Noah would want me to let go of something like this but I just couldn't.

"Probs," I shrugged.

"You guys ever do any gay shit in my house?"

"What's your problem, man?" I asked. "You've known about us for a while now. Why are you still such a prick about EVERYTHING? Move on."

"I just wanna know how it is I was friends with a couple of homos for such a long time," he shrugged innocently as if he had asked a meaningless little question.

"Well I wanna know what the fuck crawled up your ass when you found out? Especially since I recall you having this stupid theory that guys who join GSA must all be gay & you didn't seem to have a problem back then. That biblical nonsense you pulled out your ass was funny at first but after a while, you really slipped into this asshole character of yours now."

He shrugged. "My theory rang true. And what can I say? Maybe I really think you guys are going to hell."

"Get real, you're family was never that 'fire & brimstone' type. Or do you not remember us all being friends since middle school?"

"You're telling me to get real?" he asked incredulously.

"Yeah, I fucking am. For Noah's sake, I'm holding back from knocking your ass out," I said bravely. West could EASILY kick my ass but not without a few bumps & bruises of his own. Unfortunately for me, West could take a hit pretty well. I may or may not regret having threatened him...

"You think you're hot shit, don't you," he sneered, humored by my attempt to threaten him.

"Pretty much," I shrugged as I started to walk by him. But before I could get too far, he hopped down from his steps & held up a hand out in front of him.

"WHAT?" I started to get angry.

"You don't get it, do you."

"Trust me, West, I get it. You're an asshole. Ok?"

He eyed me, as if searching for his words carefully. "You're not welcome around here," he said with a hint of awkwardness in his voice, as if he didn't even believe what he was saying himself. Not welcome around here? I wasn't aware he was the emperor of the road.

"You're so close-minded it's comical," I scoffed as I started to walk around him again.

All of a sudden, I felt his hand grab hold of my coat sleeve & yank me backwards. My momentum caused me to lose my cup of hot chocolate & swing around right up to him, which he took advantage of...to put a kiss right on my lips!

For a fraction of a second, I was frozen with my mouth creepily attached to his. His lips were cold & dry, slightly cracked from the freezing, hibernal air. He kept his hand on my sleeve, holding me to him. I was so stunned I thought I'd never be able to pull away from his cold, dead lips. Nevertheless, they were lips; lips belonging to West & as my mind came back to me, I was immediately repulsed at what was happening. Before I could move back on my own, however, West violently shoved me away from him, causing me to fall backwards into a heap of snow. When I looked back up at him, he was glaring down at me.

"West...what the...?" I was speechless. I quickly started wiping my mouth.

"Shut up."

"Dude, you ju—"

Before I could finish my sentence, West shot forward & lunged at me. I flinched as he angrily grabbed me by the front of my coat & held himself right down to my face.

"You tell anyone what just happened...I'll put you & Noah in the fucking ground."

Still unsure of how to react or what to say, I just looked back at West in confusion. Was he pulling a prank? Was he trying to see if I'd cheat on Noah?...

West was gay himself?

I searched his eyes for an answer, but was only met with daggers.

That was when I began to chuckle. West's eyes burned with anger as I started laughing in his face.

"You think me fucking you guys up is funny??" he yelled.

"No," I laughed, "what's funny is that here you are West, a self-professed gay-hating prick, kissing a gay boy in broad daylight, hahaha."

"Shut the fuck up Parker!" he shoved me down into the snow harder. But I continued laughing.

"You're gay West, just admit it," I got out one last laugh before I started pushing back up against him so I wasn't so deep in the snow.

"I'm NOT gay," he said angrily.

"So then why are you lying on top of me?" I smirked. With that, West swiftly hopped up & stood back a few feet from me as I picked myself up & brushed the icy snow off me. Looking at him, I could see he was red with embarrassment & fury. I was smiling as he tried to keep up his tough-guy spiel.

"I'm warning you..." he pointed a finger at me, dying for a laser to shoot out & kill me with an explosion of some sort.

"I never really knew what to think when I heard somewhere that most homophobes are actually gay themselves. Now I know...it's just sad."

"I'm not gay!" he shouted. Gee, for something so secretive, he sure liked being loud about how NOT gay he was.

"Then how do you explain kissing me on the lips?"

He started me down, unable to give a sliver of a legitimate response that would disabuse me from this newfound revelation.

"Does Gina know you're gay?" I asked.

"Say I'm gay again," West hissed as he nearly bolted right up to me, "I dare you. Go on, say it."

"Why don't you say it, for once," I replied. He didn't like that.

He got right in my face again as he said, "Listen to me you little faggot. You tell anyone, especially that mouthy fuckwit McCara, about any of this & you're dead."

"West," I said calmly, feeling so sad for him, "this is something you need to come to terms with. If you let this fester for too long, you're gonna feel trapped & it's gonna become a daily struggle trying to accept yourself. Look, I've been there, obviously. But after a while, knowing that others know you're gay is a big relief—"

Without hesitating, West launched his right fist through the air, crashing into the left side of my face. Merciless pain swept through my nose & face as I collapsed upon the ground again. After seeing stars for a brief moment, I was able to sit up, but not without a blood staining my nose, mouth & clothes. I looked up at West, who was so furious with white hot rage that I swear I saw the tiniest drips of tears in his eyes.

Whatever sympathy I had for the boy quickly evaporated & was replaced by anger. I struggled to get to my feet after a moment & looked right back at him.

"You're such an asshole," I spat blood from my mouth. "As if dropping Noah & me as friends, harassing both of us but mostly me, treating us like shit, KISSING ME & DENYING BEING FUCKING GAY WEREN'T ENOUGH," I emphasized that part rather loudly, "you still have the audacity to call me a faggot & act like a prick."

He said nothing so I continued.

"Fuck you West. Fuck you to the very end of your miserable, goddamn life. Go keep fucking Gina. Go get married, get a wife. Get some kids. Get some grandkids for all I care. Nothing you ever do or say will change you. You're nothing but a hypocritical, pathetic waste of air who I'd sooner be murdered in a bloody rage by than ever feel your disgusting lips on me ever again."

He stood there with his fists still clenched as I wiped blood from my mouth, which ached madly as did my nose.

"I hate you so much for what you've put Noah & me through," I said to him. "But I can't even fathom how much you must hate yourself."

His eyes were red & puffy. I didn't want to be around him with his meltdown about to hit any moment. I turned around to keep heading down the road.

He wouldn't ever be laying a hand on anyone again. That was for damn sure.

**********

Later that night, I was home alone thinking about West still when I got a Skype call from Mark. I answered it, wondering if I could ask his advice about the whole situation.

"Hey Mark what's up?"

"Not too much. Talking to Janie & Ruby on Facebook. Figured I'd say hey. What happened to your lip?"

"Oh, that. I uh, got a little too excited about the sandwich I made earlier. Ended up biting my lip when I was eating it, heh."

"Ouch."

"Yeah. Tell them I say hi," I smiled.

"Sure thing. What's going on?"

"Can I...can I talk to you about something?"

"Of course."

"There's this guy I know who's gay...but he's in denial."

"Ahh..."

"And he's a real jerk. Always saying homophobic shit...but he recently made a move on...a friend of mine."

"Doesn't sound too out of the ordinary. Pretty sure lots of guys who harbor same sex attractions reject them by being homophobic."

"Right...but since he's such an asshole to people who are gay, & he's gay himself...would it be bad to out him? Especially if it'd make him stop being such a bully?"

"Hmm," he pondered. "I mean, there's no objective answer to that question, J. Whatever answer you come up with boils down to your own personal ethics. Do the ends justify the means, that sort of thing."

"I know but...I'm just so conflicted. Maybe if you tell me what YOU think, it can jog some extra thoughts. The way I wanna see it is that his hypocrisy isn't only ignorant & hateful, it's dangerous & abusive. And I think that by outing him, it'd show everyone that what he says is nonsense & most importantly, he'll know what it's like to be known."

"So then out him."

I looked down, an uneasy look on my face.

"But you don't want to," Mark said.

"No, I don't..." I admitted. "I just don't know what to do."

I looked back up to the computer screen. "What do you think? Is outing someone EVER ok?"

"I'll tell you what I think," he said, leaning forward. "I know a LOT of people, Jade. From here to New York, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Baltimore & everywhere in between...I know a lot of people. For some of them, it was easy to come out. For other, everyone already pretty much knew. For others it was a shock to everyone. And for others, it was the hardest thing they've ever dealt with. But one thing that EVERY gay person understands is how horrible it feels to be outed, or close it to. Outing makes logical sense to us when we're older; we know it's better to come out rather than keep it in. But on an emotional & deeply personal level, ESPECIALLY when the person is younger or still in the closet, being outed is a terrible thing to think about. Even before you & Noah were a couple, wouldn't you have despised the idea of someone who knew about you possibly telling everyone you know?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"If I were you," he continued, "I wouldn't out them. Tribal mentality affects us in ways from such little things like outing someone for revenge, to city gang violence to the war on terror. An eye for an eye, you know. Just because something is fair doesn't make it just."

I nodded.

"But that's just me," he added. "If you truly feel that his hypocrisy needs to be met with enlightenment about what it's like to live a life that he's thought for some time was nothing but shame & disdain, then that's how you feel. It's understandable. And especially if the fact that it would curb his harassment, then that makes sense if he's hurting people & this is the ONLY way to stop him. It makes perfect sense to me. It's just not the path I'd take. And from the look on your face," he giggled, "it looks like it's not the path you're gonna take either."

I shook my head. "I just hope he comes out someday before he's too stuck in this rut of denial & hate."

"Let's all hope for that. Unfortunately, if I had to make an actual prediction...I'd say it's not gonna happen. Too many people go about their whole lives living in denial. Sometimes...it becomes too much for them..." he said. I didn't want to think about what he meant by that.

"Weird," he said.

"What?"

"I would think you'd be going to Noah for questions about all that is ethical & good," he chuckled.

"Well he's at work," I grinned. "And besides, I classified this more as a general gay question than an ethical question. And I don't know anyone more in tune with the ins & outs of the gay world than you."

Mark lifted his invisible top hat & laughed with me. "I suppose it's a combination of both," he suggested.

"You're probably right."

"For real though, West knows what he is. I don't know if I'd call it denial so much as I'd call it self-disgust or something like that. Saying it out loud would confirm it, but for now...he knows what he is. But if he at least knows it's something you can hold over his head to keep him from splitting your lip again in the future, then maybe you can kill two birds with one stone."

"True."

"I gotta go but we can talk more tomorrow. Let's get together sometime, the five of us. Maybe six if Collin wants to tag along," he laughed.

"Sounds good to me. And thanks for the advice," I smiled.

"No problem," he returned to expression. "Night."

"See ya."

With that, I logged off Skype. As I began shutting down my computer though, I realized I had never admitted to Mark that I was referring to West at all! He must have guessed it on his own. Quickly grabbing my phone, I intended to text him & remind him not to tell anyone...only to remember everything he'd just told me.

I knew Mark. He wouldn't out someone like that. And thanks to him, I wasn't about to go outing West to anyone either. As I thought about it, Mark's words made more & more sense to me. Outing someone wouldn't benefit anybody, including Noah or me. If anything, the notion of outing someone would do nothing but imply that being gay was still something of shock value that can be ridiculed & used against someone. If I pointed & laughed at West, I'd only have three fingers pointing right back at me for something that I should know better by now isn't something to be made fun of.

Except for Noah, the next time I'd see him, this was a secret I knew I'd be taking to the grave with me.

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Chapter 48: Book of Liars
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